All natural stone, no matter what type and where it is in your home, will need to be protected. This will help to prevent staining, extend the lifespan, and enhance the natural colour of the stone.
Protection of natural stone can be broken down into impregnating and surface sealants. Impregnating sealants penetrate the capillaries of the stone and protect from within. They can leave the stone with a natural or colour-enhanced appearance, but always with the stone surface exposed.
Surface sealants form a physical barrier between the stone and the environment. Modern sealants are either wax or polymer-based, which can achieve matt, satin or gloss finishes to the stone. Such sealants however cannot be applied outdoors or in wet areas as they are affected by moisture. They are also ineffective if applied to a polished surface as they cannot penetrate the surface sufficiently to bond.
Q&A - How long will the sealant or impregnator last?
Contrary to popular belief, impregnating sealants themselves don’t degrade over time. The pores and capillaries that were originally sealed will remain so, however abrasion caused by foot-traffic will create and expose new pores and capillaries which will require additional sealant. Usually, the more people or pets in the property the more frequently the protection will need to be reapplied.
Surface sealants on the other hand are designed to be a sacrificial layer, to protect the stone surface from the external environment. This means that liquid spillages and abrasion will impact the sealant and not the stone surface. These sealants will also be impacted by repeated cleaning regimes.